The private equity arm of Oklahoma oil and gas tycoon George Kaiser said it had acquired some oilfield services assets of Pioneer Natural Resources Co., setting up a shale patch rivalry with billionaire Dan Wilks in the top U.S. shale field.

Kaiser’s Argonaut Private Equity acquired Pioneer Well Services, an oilfield services arm of one of the largest U.S. shale producers, for an undisclosed amount. Both Pioneer and Argonaut did not reply to requests for comment.

Wilks earlier this year took stakes in ProPetro Holding Corp. and NexTier Oilfield Solutions, two of the top shale well services providers. He and his brother own Wilks Brothers LLC, which controls hydraulic fracturing firm ProFrac Services and had engaged in a lengthy takeover battle for Canada’s Calfrac Well Services Ltd. last year.


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Argonaut said on March 22 it rebranded the Pioneer arm as American Well Services and that it would partner with existing Argonaut portfolio company, Nichols Oil Tools, which provides oilfield equipment and services, including pressure pumping.

American Well Services will exclusively work on Pioneer Natural Resources’ contracts for the next few years, one person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Argonaut deal also comes months after Pioneer acquired smaller rival Parsley Energy in a multibillion-dollar deal, amid a wave of consolidations among oil producers slammed by the rout in oil prices during the pandemic.